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Virallinen todistus kielitaidosta

Official certificate of language proficiency

Published25.11.2022
If you want to apply for Finnish citizenship, you will need an official certificate of your skills in Finnish or Swedish. You can also demonstrate the required language skills in Finnish or Finland-Swedish Sign Language. The certificate is usually beneficial when applying for a job or study place.

You can prove your language skills with the following:

  • National Certificate of Language Proficiency
  • Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate.

You can also prove the language proficiency required for citizenship with diplomas and school-leaving certificates approved by the Finnish Immigration Service.

The National Certificate of Language Proficiency

The National Certificate of Language Proficiency test is intended for adults and measures daily language skills. The certificate is subject to a charge. After the test, you will receive a certificate stating the level of your language proficiency.

The language certificate has three levels: basic, intermediate and advanced. Each level of the certificate covers two proficiency levels, of which there are six altogether.

  • The basic level is for those who are able to use the language in question in everyday situations, i.e. whose proficiency level is 1–2.
  • The intermediate level is for those who can speak the language quite well, i.e. whose proficiency level is 3–4.
  • The advanced level is for those who speak the language extremely well, i.e. whose proficiency level is 5–6.

More detailed descriptions of the proficiency levels are provided on the website of the Finnish National Agency for Education.

If you want to apply for Finnish citizenship (kansalaisuus), you will need to prove that you have a satisfactory level of Finnish or Swedish, which means passing the written and oral part of the National Certificate of Language Proficiency at the minimum level of 3.

The language test takes 3-6 hours. The subject matters in the assignments are linked to everyday life, such as leisure time, training and the most common work situations. The test consists of different kinds of questions which require the following skills:

  • reading comprehension
  • writing
  • grammar and vocabulary
  • listening comprehension
  • speaking

The test can be taken in different parts of Finland. You can find out more about enrolment on the website of the Finnish National Agency for Education (Opetushallitus).

The tests are classified according to a different scale than the courses. If you have completed a language course that has been classified according to the Common European Framework of Reference, the course content corresponds to the level of the National Certificate of Language Proficiency roughly in the following way:

  • A1 - National Certificate 1
  • A2 - National Certificate 2
  • B1 - National Certificate 3
  • B2 - National Certificate 4
  • C1 - National Certificate 5
  • C2 - National Certificate 6

Before you enrol for a test, please read about the requirements for the different levels carefully. You can also ask your Finnish or Swedish teacher for advice.

You can find out more about the National Certificate of Language Proficiency on the website of the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate for Finnish and Swedish

If you want to work in public administration, you will usually need a certificate of your skills in Finnish or Swedish. You can prove your ability in one of these languages with a National Certificate of Language Proficiency or Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate.

When applying for a job or study place, ask the employer or educational institution about language requirements. Before registering for the language test, you need to know what level you need a certificate from.

The test has three levels: satisfactory, good and excellent. The test level that you need to pass depends on the job or study place in question. To be granted Finnish citizenship, you will require a certificate of at least satisfactory skills.

Satisfactory or good level tests can be taken in different parts of Finland. The website of the Finnish National Agency for Education has a list of the towns where the test can be taken.

The test demonstrating excellent skills can only be taken in Helsinki.

The test is composed of various kinds of questions which involve reading and listening to texts and answering questions. It also includes interview, discussion and writing assignments.

The Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate can be substituted with specific completed studies. For example, a B.A. / M.A. maturity exam (kypsyysnäyte) taken at a university in Finnish or Swedish corresponds to the Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate’s ‘good’ level. For more information, go to the website of the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Link redirects to another websiteFinnish National Agency for Education

Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificates

Certificate of language proficiency on the basis of studies

You can also prove the language proficiency required for citizenship with diplomas and school-leaving certificates approved by the Finnish Immigration Service. You can find out more on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service (Maahanmuuttovirasto).